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By Green Minute News:

People, shop owners, advertisers and cable operators can no longer put advertisements, bill boards, flash cards, striking cables, nails and stapler pins on trees situated on city roads, avenues and streets.

This order is effective from 14 September, this year and the BBMP circular says such offending materials and equipment should be removed within 7 (seven) days of this circular.

The Bengaluru Municipal authorities (BBMP) have also added rods (used for construction) and electric lights that are installed and fixed on trees to this list of banned items. 

In fact, come any festival or celebrations, offensive materials like electric lights can be seen hanging across trees around the city. 

Many times, residents have lodged complaints to BBMP of trees being harmed and damaged to accommodate such offensive items but till date, no action has been taken. 

City activists add, “Advertisements have caused the maximum damage to trees in Bengaluru. We have seen trees being poisoned and felled by advertisement agencies to give more visibility to their ads. Even construction rods are the worst offenders as branches are often cut by civil contractors and sometimes, even tree trunks are damaged to install both wooden and iron rods at different levels. After some time, the trees have become infected and died in the process.”

It was in 2014 that a city entrepreneur E G Jaideep personally took up the task of pulling down publicity posters and flex boards from trees on BEL Road near Ramaiah hospital. The flowering, fruit, woody trees on this road adds color, warmth and levels down pollution and is considered one of the most beautiful stretches in the city but was rampantly used for stapling and nailing all kinds of posters. Welcoming the order, Jaideep added, “So many things used to be stapled to the trees and I removed it wherever it was possible. And I have called up advertisers and also sent mails to offenders to stop this visual pollution. Somehow, I could convince people to stop defacing trees… however, there is need to enforce this rule…so that trees are saved.”

According to Tree Officer and deputy conservator of forests, BBMP, such activities will damage and destroy the health and growth of trees. “This is a punishable offence as per Section-8 of the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, 1976. Therefore, all illegal name boards, flash cards, striking cables, nails, stapler pins, rods and lights are to be removed by concerned persons within seven days of issue of this circular.”

Thanks to efforts to a few vigilant green groups and green activists in city that time and again, such harmful items have been removed from trees before it could cause much damage. However, this is not enough as there is need to educate people on such activities. In this regard, ICare Brigade held “free the trees” awareness drive at CMH Road, Indiranagar. The objective was to inform people and establishments about tree protection and distribute the 14 September BBMP circular and stress that it is illegal to fix and install any items on trees. 

The team members urged the citizens to refrain themselves and others from such abuse and misuse of trees. The event was led by Prasad Shetty, J Srinivas, Poornima Shetty, Shilpa, Spoorthy, Yathaarth Murthy, Gangadhar and Vijay Nishanth, urban conservationist who convened the activity. The drive was supported by Kannada actor Harry and the team of Idhu Rajana Katha